Jump Start Your Game: 3 Simple Nutrition Tips for High School Athletes
It’s that time of year when teenage athletes are heading back from the lazy days of summer to the busy world of high school sports and these 3 simple nutrition tips will help keep you strong and in the game!
It’s not easy to switch gears from hanging at the pool all day to keeping up with a heavy course load and intense practice sessions. Jump Start Your Game with these 3 simple nutrition tips for high school athletes will help keep your mind and body healthy throughout the season.
You’ve heard it before, but it can’t be stressed enough – EAT BREAKFAST!
Skipping breakfast might not seem like a big deal, but it can be more damaging to your athletic performance and your grades than you think. A simple nutrition tip is to eat BREAKFAST! It will help keep you alert in class and play optimally on the field. A healthy breakfast should include whole grains, high protein foods, and healthy fats. Good choices include:
scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast, hummus or avocado;
plain yogurt with fruit and granola;
oatmeal with raisins and slivered almonds; or
a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.
Now, keep eating!
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, active teenage girls need 1,800 to 2,400 calories per day, and active teen boys require 2,000 to 3,200 calories every day. But teenage athletes require an extra 350-450 calories for every hour of training.
That means you may need up to 4,000 calories (or more) per day to meet your energy needs! Unfortunately that doesn’t give you an open pass to eat anything and everything.
Another simple nutrition tip is to make sure you continue to eat something healthy every 2-3 hours throughout the day. Don’t count on healthy snacks to be available when you need it. Instead consider carrying snacks in your backpack. The healthy energy bites below are a great choice for an on-the-go treat!
Water is required to keep your body functioning properly -it helps regulate body temperature, transports essential nutrients and supports muscle functioning. It is important to drink water throughout the day to avoid dehydration, even before signs of thirst appear.
High school athletes should drink about 17-20 ounces of water about 2-3 hours before exercising, and an additional 8 ounces about 20-30 minutes before the start of a practice/game or during warm-ups. You should continue drinking 7-10 ounces every 20 minutes during the game to stay hydrated. Following activity (about 20 minutes after), you should drink an additional 8 ounces of water to restore fluid lost through sweat. Although many sports drinks are available, water is usually the best choice to hydrate the body, as sports drinks usually come with unwanted added sugar.
Energy/Protein Bites RECIPE – a simple nutrition tip to follow.
Pop in a couple of these delicious balls of energy and protein when you need a quick snack. These bites do not need to be refrigerated, so you can keep them in your backpack or your purse. If you are allergic to peanuts, you could easily substitute the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: About 20
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup ground golden flaxseed meal
2 Tbsp chocolate chips
4 Tbsp slivered almonds
In a mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract. Add remaining ingredients and stir until evenly coated. Transfer mixture to refrigerator or freezer and chill until set.
Remove from refrigerator and shape into 1-inch balls. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
10 grams carbohydrates
3 grams protein
2 grams fiber
4 grams sugar
6 grams fat
1 gram saturated fat
Recipe Source: adapted from Smashed Peas and Carrots